New Music: Marv Ellis and Cosmos – Highs and Lows

by Winston "Stone" Ford


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Highs and Lows might be one of the best albums of 2006.

There haven’t been many CDs this year that I have played repeatedly and played often. In fact, I can count them on my hand. However, there is something about Highs and Lows that is making this stand out a little further. Oregon MC Marv Ellis and Cosmos Corbin’s Highs and Lows proves that psychedelic hip-hop can be done. It doesnl;t try too hard to be different like Electric Circus. Beats are minimal, yet complex. Ellis has a downright incredible flow (for a white dude, of course), and on songs like “Electropimp” its almost like he’s playing hopscotch with the beat.

The standout track is the opener “When It Hits,” which uses a screwed and chopped guitar chord from Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” performance from Woodstock. The song itself is a soulful depiction of what happens after a heroin trip, or at least that’s what I think (i’m sure its just about cooking chicken). The other standout songs on the release are “Slide off My Back,” “She Needs To,” and the end song “Until Then.”

Highs and Lows sounds like the soundtrack for Requiem for a Dream. It’s almost like a drug trip of sorts and the best legal high you can get right now.